The Church History Library is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The building opened in June 2009 and has since welcomed thousands of people interested in learning more about the history of the faith and its members.
The 230,000-square-foot facility contains five floors that include a public library and reading room and storage space for the following historical collections:
- 270,000 books, pamphlets, magazines, manuals, etc.
- 240,000 collections of original, unpublished records (journals, diaries, correspondence, minutes, etc.)
- 3.5 million patriarchal blessings for Church members
- 13,000 collections of photographs
- 23,000 audio and video recordings
Some of these items are available in the public library area, while others are located in archival storage rooms and delivered to patrons for use in a reading room. Patrons often use these materials in researching a book or scholarly publication. Others may use the Church History Library collections to learn more about their Mormon ancestors or the history of the West.
The state-of-the-art building has two types of archival storage rooms that are designed to protect the historical artifacts. The 10 main storage rooms are kept at 55 degrees Fahrenheit with 35 percent relative humidity. There are also two special rooms kept at minus four degrees Fahrenheit for color motion picture films, photographs, and records of special significance to the Church.
In addition to the public areas and storage rooms, the new building has space for conservation, collections development, and research. The Church’s conservation efforts involve 300 to 500 books and documents and 3,000 to 4,000 audiovisual recordings every year. Collections development staff acquire and catalog 500 to 700 new collections annually, including 6,000 publications. The new building also has office space for employees and volunteers who are responsible for historic sites, Web content, and publications like The Joseph Smith Papers.
The Church History Library has achieved a silver certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). To earn this “green” designation, buildings must use less heat and electricity, have greater access to outside views by having windows close to where people work, be in close proximity to public transportation, and use products that are locally produced, that are recycled, or that give off fewer gasses that may affect people’s health.